Today, less than two percent of the U.S. population are farmers. Tremendous technological strides have released more and more people from the task of growing food and fiber, allowing them to seek other professions. Their understanding of farm life grows smaller with each generation. The challenge facing farmers in their continued efforts to maintain state and national legislation that is favorable and economically sound for rural America has never been greater.
That is why Farm Bureau’s Public Policy efforts are so important. The best legislative influence comes from informed, concerned farm families communicating their beliefs to their elected representatives. Farm Bureau’s role on both the state and national level is to keep members informed with good and factual information concerning Farm Bureau policies and farm issues.
One of the distinguishing features between Farm Bureau and most other organizations is the “grassroots” philosophy in developing Farm Bureau policy. Through the Farm Bureau structure beginning at the county level and proceeding through the state and national levels, producers annually evaluate the problems of agriculture and rural living and make recommendations to formulate Farm Bureau policy. In the fall of each year, the Public Policy Department carries out a series of policy development meetings held throughout the state in order for members to review Farm Bureau’s actions and policies. Ideas brought forth in these meetings form resolutions in counties that are forwarded to the state Farm Bureau for consideration at the Resolutions Meeting held at the beginning of November.
Farm Bureau presidents or their representatives from all 82 counties convene to discuss these resolutions. Once the resolutions have been favorably voted on, they are sent to the voting delegate floor at the annual convention. Resolutions then must pass the voting delegate body in order to become official policy governing the officers and staff of Farm Bureau.
Without public support of farm policies, getting favorable legislation passed in the state legislature or the National Congress is nearly impossible. But with sound policies that appeal to the masses, the job can be done.
The Public Policy Department coordinates the implementation of Farm Bureau policy on the state and national level. This includes conducting and maintaining contact in the state and national legislative arena as well as regulatory entities that govern our laws. Our purpose is to develop and implement a program that mobilizes the full resources of the organization in the counties of the state in support of Farm Bureau policy as determined by the voting delegates.
State Legislative Affairs
The policies of Farm Bureau are developed from grassroots recommendations originating from the county Farm Bureau level. From these recommendations, policy resolutions are prepared and submitted to the MFBF House of Delegates for action at its annual meeting each December.
The Public Policy Department is responsible for monitoring the impact of government actions on agriculture and for speaking to elected and appointed officials in a timely, effective and united voice.
Capitol Comments is printed weekly during regular legislative sessions and special session to report on the status of bills in the State Legislature affecting Farm Bureau.
Federal Legislative Affairs
Contact is maintained on a routine basis with our Congressional delegation and regulatory/governmental agencies. The Public Policy Department works with the American Farm Bureau and other Farm Bureau staff to assist them in their effort to have maximum impact on actions of government.
The Public Policy Department organizes the annual Washington D.C. trip held in early spring every year. Over a hundred Farm Bureau members practice “grassroots lobbying” by attending various functions including meeting the state’s congressional delegation to meeting with various agencies on timely Farm Bureau interest.
Public Policy also hosts county Farm Bureaus, Women’s Committee members, and Young Farmer and Rancher Program visits at the State Capital each year.
The Public Policy Department interacts with membership by publishing pertinent information in Capital Comments, Mississippi Farm Country Magazine, and other timely bulletins.
In order to participate in elections in Mississippi one must be registered to vote. A form to do that and instructions on where to mail it are available here.